The Representative I will be

After knocking on thousands of doors and hosting four town hall meetings in Houston and Fillmore County, it has become more evident than ever that we need new representation in St. Paul. Do I have all the answers to all of our challenges? No, but collectively, we do. As I listen to small business owners, farmers, seniors, teachers, and the people of Houston and Fillmore Counties it has become clear that each and every one of us has a piece of the puzzle. All we need is a representative who will put those pieces together and take them to the State Capitol to help make our communities stronger. That is the type of legislator I will be.

As a 5th generation resident of Houston County, I understand that we are all in this together. That is why I take the time to listen to everyone, not just those who I know will vote for me this November. I talk to small business owners struggling to make payroll. I talk to farmers who are paying high property taxes and seeing low corn prices. I talk to teachers who have to hold their own fundraisers to pay for classroom activities. I talk to seniors who are paying top dollar for prescription drugs and trying to stay in their homes, all while relying solely on a Social Security check. I talk to parents who pay almost half of their monthly income towards health insurance, and another large portion on daycare, leaving just enough to put food on the table. I talk to families in the townships who still don’t have reliable or high-speed internet coverage, making it impossible to work from home or allow their kids to do homework. I talk to commuters who pay hundreds of dollars per year on auto repairs, in large part due to the condition of our roads.

There is no silver bullet for each of these challenges, but we must do something. I’m not one to believe that government and politicians can solve every problem, but government can be a catalyst for better outcomes. Our state legislature must work together, Republicans and Democrats, to pass meaningful legislation and reform. We need to compromise on a long-term transportation bill and bonding bill. We need to provide property tax relief to farmers and homeowners, both direct and indirect, including more local government and county program aid. We need to increase the dollar amounts our schools receive per student and redirect focus on small rural districts. We need to provide more resources to help our telecoms expand broadband internet coverage in our townships. We need to encourage insurance providers to do business in Southeastern Minnesota and work with the Mayo clinic to bring down the cost of health care in our state and country.

It’s no accident that after five generations I am able to live and work in the same place my Norwegian ancestors lived and worked. They strived to make their communities stronger so that their kids and grand kids could be successful. That is what we should all have in mind and that is the mentality I will take to St. Paul. 

Trehus to Host Town Hall Meetings in June

Spring Grove School Board Member and DFL candidate for Minnesota House of Representatives Thomas Trehus will be hosting three town hall meetings in the month of June. At these meetings, Trehus will discuss his vision for the future of representation of Houston and Fillmore counties, answer questions about the issues facing the area, and listen to ideas from the public. “One of the things lacking in politics today is the ability to listen to one another”, Trehus said. “It's my priority to listen, as a candidate and as a Representative in St. Paul.”

The time of each town hall meeting is 7-8PM. The dates/locations are: June 9th@ Rushford Village City Hall, June 16th@ Spring Valley Community Center, and June 23rd @ Corky’s Restaurant in La Crescent.

All meetings are open to the public.

 
 
 

Legislative Failure

Once again our state legislators failed to compromise on a transportation plan and a public infrastructure bill for our state. In Houston and Fillmore Counties alone, there are over 50 bridges and hundreds of miles of roadways that are in dire need of repair or replacement. Failing roads and bridges are not only dangerous, they cost individuals hundreds of dollars a year in additional auto repairs. Funding our transportation system should be one of government’s main jobs.

Our legislators also failed to compromise on a public infrastructure package, or bonding bill. This bill could have funded the Lanesboro dam project, the Chatfield Arts Center, a recreational trail through Fillmore County, and several important water quality projects throughout Minnesota. Instead, our legislators punted and left town.  It would have created jobs and provided much important economic development to our region.

I am disappointed in our legislators, especially since they are now passing the blame and calling for a redo special session. The one positive thing that came out of St. Paul this year was a tax reform bill. Thankfully this was passed without the major corporate tax cuts that were proposed by our state representative in 2015. Instead, it will provide modest, but much needed relief to college students and some farmers. Unfortunately it didn’t tackle the larger issues of state government’s failure to fund our counties, towns, and schools, resulting in higher property taxes. Also, and without much foresight, this tax bill included a $32 million tax cut for the tobacco industry, which will turn more of our kids onto cigarettes and tobacco, and cost taxpayers even more in the long run with higher health care costs.

If I am elected to the Minnesota House I will work for better roads and bridges, more property tax relief for local governments and policies that support rural jobs and healthy families.  I would not stand for last minute back room deals that ignore the needs of average working people.

Trehus is DFL Endorsed Candidate for House

Education, transportation and property tax relief top issues for Trehus

Spring Grove – Thomas Trehus, Spring Grove school board member and fifth generation Houston County resident received the DFL endorsement for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 28B on April 2, 2016. A longtime resident of rural Spring Grove, he will challenge the incumbent 12-term (non-consecutive) Rep. Greg Davids. Thomas Trehus said he is disappointed by the special session in St. Paul and is running for State Representative because he believes Fillmore and Houston Counties deserve a more moderate voice in the legislature.

“Here in Southeastern Minnesota, we work together as a community to get things done,” said Trehus. “I want to use my consensus building skills to help resolve the partisan gridlock in Saint Paul.”

Thomas Trehus said he was disheartened to see the 2015 session end without compromise on issues crucial to residents in District 28B. The legislature faces a special session because members refused to compromise with Governor Dayton on an education funding bill. Trehus was frustrated with the legislature’s inability to pass a sustainable transportation bill, tax bill, and a general lack of investment in Greater Minnesota initiatives like broadband. In each of these areas, Rep. Greg Davids voted with his party leaders.

“There was tremendous opportunity this session to invest in our schools, our roads and bridges, and to provide tax relief to farmers and small business owners,” said Trehus. “In Saint Paul, I will work with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to do what’s right for Houston and Fillmore Counties.”

As a Spring Grove Public School Board Member, Thomas Trehus had hoped to see a greater investment in education from this legislature. From talking with parents and community members, Trehus understands how strong schools can impact the future of our region. Underfunding our schools undermines the future workforce of Minnesota and places more burden on local property taxpayers.

Before joining the school board, Trehus served the state of Minnesota as a staff member in the Office of United States Senator Al Franken. He is currently a project administrator and compliance officer at Minnowa Construction, Inc. in Harmony.

Thomas Trehus looks forward to talking with residents of District 28B and hearing about what’s most important to them.

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Special Interests: Big money in 28B

The 2015 campaign finance reports are now public. These reports can reveal a lot about a candidate and his/her priorities.

I'm very proud of the campaign we have run thus far and the success in fundraising is proof. Our campaign raised nearly $23,000 in 2015 and has about $20,000 cash on hand. We have had well over 200 individual donors, three-fourths of them within the district, and most of them are small-medium contributions.

Our opponent, Rep. Greg Davids, has raised about $59,000 and has about $28,000 cash on hand. He has received $2,700 from lobbyists and $9,200 from Political Action Committees. One revealing factor is Rep. David's list of large donors (those who gave over $200). Not one of these individuals lives within the legislative district he represents. This list includes millionaires and billionaires with special interests at the Capitol.

I'm proud of the fact that we were able to raise money from local supporters who feel we need new leadership -- leadership that represents them and not the special interests looking for a tax break. How about giving hard working people of Houston and Fillmore County a tax break? the people working hard every day to earn a living will be my special interest at the legislature. 

Actions Speak Louder...

In a recent Rochester Post Bulletin story, Rep. Greg Davids says access to rural broadband is “a serious issue for greater Minnesota.” I agree. But my question for Representative Davids is this: why didn’t you do something about it last session?

Despite a $2 billion budget surplus, Rep. Davids and the House Republican Majority passed a budget that woefully underfunded broadband. The original House Republican budget zeroed-out funding for our state’s broadband program and they ended up putting in just $10 million. That’s small potatoes compared to the needs throughout our state to ensure all Minnesotans have access to high speed Internet.

Instead of investing in broadband, Rep. Davids chose to make a tax giveaway to the largest businesses in Minnesota his top priority. His tax bill provided billions in permanent tax cuts for business owners. The biggest winners were the biggest property owners in the metro area. For example, the Canadian owners of the Mall of America would have received a huge, permanent tax cut! Meanwhile, many families and students in our area remain without access to high speed Internet.

Lack of access to high speed internet IS a serious issue in our district. It’s serious for the business owner who can’t process orders. It’s a serious issue for the student that can’t complete her homework. It’s a serious issue for family members simply trying to purchase some Christmas presents for family members on the other side of the state.

I’m glad Rep. Davids is finally agreeing this is a serious issue, but so far, he hasn’t been serious about solving the problem. If he is, I hope he will support Governor Dayton’s plan to invest $100 million in border-to-border broadband funding.

Let’s get serious about solving the important issue facing greater Minnesota.

State Should Fund Rural Broadband

Living and growing up in the heart of beautiful bluff country, it’s easy to see what makes this area of our state different from all the rest. From our charming main streets and vibrant communities, to our pristine trout streams and towering wooded bluffs, our corner is truly unique. Even city folk visit to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But from the conversations I’ve had with neighbors in the weeks since my campaign began, it’s obvious that people living here feel disconnected in a different way. Though this time it is not intentional and certainly not as enjoyable.

Almost half of Houston and Fillmore counties are either lacking or going entirely without high-speed broadband internet access in 2015. This a year when new galaxies are being discovered and self-driving cars are a reality. Faster internet access isn’t just a matter of convenience, but one of economic viability.

This is why I’m asking our state government to fund rural broadband projects up to $200 million, the amount proposed by the Governor’s non-partisan rural broadband task force. This will allow for communities like ours to compete on an even playing field, socially and economically. We need strong leaders who can move us into the 21st Century. Among the many sounds we take for granted in our neck of the woods, a dial-up internet tone should not be one of them.